WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Today is Domestic Violence Awareness Day, part of a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the problems caused by domestic violence.
Yesterday, a victim of domestic violence was remembered with a donation to the Wausau based Women’s Community, which serves as a shelter and resource to victims and families affected by domestic violence. Kira Steger Trevino was murdered in her Twin Cities home by the husband she planned to divorce, Jeffrey Trevino. Now, Director Jane Graham-Jennings says there is a bench at the Women’s Community remembering the young woman from Schofield. “A friend of the family made this bench, and they were trying to find a place that they could put it, and they contacted the Women’s Community and said, would you be willing to have this bench memorializing Kira at your agency, and we said of course, we would be delighted to do that.”
Graham-Jennings says domestic abuse is not always physical, but can be very harmful. “It touches everyone, not only from the loss but when we’re talking about domestic abuse, we’re really talking about a pattern of behaviors and it doesn’t always get to the point of physical abuse. There are psychological and emotional abuses that are really painful for people also.”
Kira Steger Trevino’s divorce papers were found by investigators. It’s unknown if she reached out for help, and it’s unclear if she feared for her own safety in the last days of her life. Graham-Jennings says victims need to make that first step towards a better, safer life. “Part of the memory for Kira is also reaching out for people who are in these situations where they’re being hurt and saying, please get help. There is a way that this can get better, you don’t deserve to live this way, you don’t have to live in pain, you don’t have to live in fear, and there are people who want to help you.”
Graham-Jennings says violence escalates and about 85% of domestic homicides occur after the victim leaves or threatens to leave, so it is important to reach out to others for their own safety.
(The interview with Jane Graham-Jennings can be heard in our Newmaker's Interview podcast section, here.)